We have a smiler!

Another update, another month, although a little later than I had planned, 2013 is definitely speeding by.  The first couple of months seemingly dragged as a combination of cold weather and the anticipation of Ezra’s arrival apparently dilated the passage of time, somewhat like the week before Christmas when you are a child.  However since his birth, time has flown and amazingly he is now eight weeks old!  Eight weeks old and 12lbs 12oz (5.78kg).

Thus, as you can guess Ezra is putting on weight nicely and sitting happily on the 75th centile.  The health visitors are very happy with his progress and it appears he has missed the genetic lottery and cow’s milk protein intolerance.  As a coincidence we also weighed Amélie and Éowyn to compare them with their brother’s 12lb 12oz.  Amélie weighed 2 stone 2 pounds (13.6kg /30 pounds) while Éowyn tipped the scales at 3 stone 3 pounds ( 20.4kg /45 pounds); a nice symmetry to their results (in imperial measurements).

You are not here for weight updates though, are you?  You want to know what has been happening in the world of the Bagnalls.  Fortunately we have been blessed with some seasonal weather of late (although looking out of the window at the moment you wouldn’t believe it) and so we have been able to leave the confines of chez Bagnall and take full advantage.  Unfortunately I have not been on all those those adventures (work does get in the way), but there are plenty of photos to give you all (and me) the flavour of those adventures.

We have also managed to complete the adventure that is Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Both girls thoroughly enjoyed the book even though it took us best part of a fortnight to read it and they kept up with the story remembering (with a little help from the voice-over guy type: ‘previously on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory‘) all the names and what was going on.  I have now said that since they know the story they can watch the film.  Neither of them have shown too much interest in the sequel Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator though and to be honest neither have I, it doesn’t quite have the charm of the original, it is no Empire Strikes Back.

As I mentioned above Éowyn and Amélie have been taking advantage of the good weather playing in our garden, in Nanny and Granddad’s garden and down the local park, fully sunblocked up (Lucinda and I both have delicate celtic skin that burns easily, even in the poor weather we have had so the kids have no chance) with matching sunhats (the only item of clothing that they will wear that is the same).  The local park (Lammas recreation ground) has, in addition to the usual adventure playground a splash park.  Great fun for little ones (and the little one in adults), water jets squirt large arcs of water over anyone in area and the girls love it.  Fantastic fun on a warm day, so not that often this year.

However the weather doesn’t have to be warm for a Bagnall to go on an adventure, although if it is dry it is a bonus.  The girls have been on a couple of adventures since the last update.  The first was to the Great Cockcrow Railway in Lyne.  It is a miniature steam railway maintained and operated by volunteers and I am a little bit jealous that I wasn’t able to go (that work thing!).  Éowyn thoroughly enjoyed the trains but Amélie, being a little younger, was a initially scared of the tunnel but nevertheless when she was asked if she wanted to go on it again and seeing that her older sister was so keen to go again insisted that she went too.  The Great Cockcrow Railway is only open from May through to October and so if Daddy is going to go it will have to be over the next couple of months.

Daddy did manage to go on the second adventure though a trip around Saville Garden and Virginia Water with Éowyn’s best friend Raine.  It was a little insight into how live will be with three ‘mobile’ children, you really need to have eyes in the back of your head.  For although both Lucinda and I were there, there were occasions when all three would run in different directions and with large bodies of water and people walking dogs you have to be one step ahead all the time.  Not relaxing!  Thankfully there were all well behaved so that when we told them to stop or come back they did and so thoroughly deserved their ice-creams at the end of the walk.

Ezra accompanied the girls on their adventures but obviously was very much a passenger.  However his development is accelerating and he is far more alert now and will sit watching his sisters or mommy and daddy.  However the biggest and most pleasing development is that he has begun to smile and even giggle.  He will sit on your lap looking into your eyes and give you the biggest smile cooing gently at you.  When I come home from work the girls usually run to the door to give me a kiss to welcome me home and now, in addition to that attention Ezra will turn his head and look at me and give me his cutie smile.

Not only is Ezra ingratiating himself with his cute smile and cooing noises he is also giving us as much sleep as one could expect from an eight week old.  He goes to bed as we go to bed and will wake once in the night (as much as seven hours later) but only cries to wake us, has his feed and then goes back to sleep quite quickly.  He was even good the night he had his first set of inoculations.  Obviously he cried and got upset when he had them and was quite disturbed throughout the day and we were prepared for a bad night but as soon as the lights went out and he was lain in his moses basket he went to sleep for six hours. Can we ask for any more?  But now that I have told you have I put the collybosh on it?  We will wait and see.

Work is building to the end of season crescendo so afterwards worklife should calm down a little and hopefully their will be more time for me to take part in the Bagnall family adventures and you dear readers will hear all about it on these pages.  I will leave you now with a good selection of photos below and over 200 new ones on our Flickr (broken link now fixed) pages (I have been busy with the camera), feel free to pop by and check them out.

Peace and love


November’s sky is chill and drear, November’s leaf is red and sear

As Autumn strengthens its grip on the land the leaves are changing colour contrasting against the uninspiring greyness that has been the colour of the sky for the last couple of weeks allow the Bagnalls to bring a little colour into your life.  We find ourselves sitting pretty between the girls’ birthdays and Christmas and for such a dull and usually monotonous period of the year it has been far from humdrum in the Bagnall household.

In the British calendar Halloween is closely following by Guy Fawkes night (or Bonfire night) on the 5th November. A date which commemorates an unsuccesful attempt at regicide and mass terrorism by Robert Gatesby and his fellow plotters, including the eponymous Guy Fawkes who was caught readying himself to light 36 barrels of gunpowder under the Houses of Parliament by a team lead by Lord Thomas Knyvet. (As an aside Lord Knyvet is quite reknown around our corner of the world, as he was granted the Manors of Stanwell and Staines and his effigy is in the chancel of Stanwell Parish church).   Bonfire and firework displays are put on throughout the country and we decided that we would try and see one this year.  Unfortunately as I was working at the weekend we had to find one that was planned for the actual date which fell on a Monday this year.

Cleves School in Weybridge appeared to be the closest display and so my friends Andy and Al joined us on a trip to Weybridge.  Hats and scarves were the order of the day as the November chill had begun and positioned ourselves at the edge of the school playing field to watch the display.  There was entertainment beforehand with halloween themed stilt-walkers and band knocking out covers of 80’s and 90’s rock favourites.  The display was not disappointing either and lasted at least half an hour.  We were very impressed, although Amélie was a little scared by the loud bangs.  There are quite a lot of firework related photos here.  I would definitely recommend Cleves School display if you are looking for a firework display next year.

It appears that holiday to Puncknowle has had two positive effects on Amélie.  The first, which in fairness was already well on its way, is the fact that she is now sleeping through the night.  This means that Lucinda and I will have 6 months of uninterrupted sleep before baguette number three makes an appearance.  It is amazing how much better you feel one you can get a good night’s sleep.  The second is a big step forward and all off her own back.

On our return from Puncknowle we decided to buy Amélie a potty and to make her involved in the decision we encouraged her to pick one, a dinosaur potty was her choice.  We put it in the lounge and thought no more.  Then Monday morning she came downstairs and refused to have a nappy on.  That was it.  No more.  Nappies in the day time are a memory.  Yes, there have been a couple of accidents but to be honest the transition to nappy-free days has been rather painless.  Yes, we do have to clap her everytime she goes for a wee, and she has even begun to take a bow when she receives the applause.

Lucinda is now back at work returning from her appendectomy and holiday.  She had to see the company doctor and has been given a gradual restart with reduced hours.  These return days have co-incided with my days off.  So with our days out of sync it means no requirements for childcare, which has been doubly useful with Amélie potty training and the fact that she has come out in spots.  Lucinda took her to the walk-in clinic (no appointments at the doctors) and the diagnosis came back as chicken pox.  Fortunately both Lucinda (and it is not good if a pregnant woman gets chicken pox) and I have both had it as children.  Éowyn has not had it so we feared the worse with both children going through it at the same time.  However, Amélie’s case has been extremely mild (thankfully) and Éowyn has not succumbed to the pox.  We have got away lightly.  This unsynchronised days off occurs in six week patterns so the next time it will happen will be Christmas week.  We both have jobs where public holidays mean nothing to whether we are at work and so it is with Christmas.  Lucinda will be working on Christmas day itself and I will be working throughout the yuletide with the exception of Christmas day.  The glamour of television.

Not that this will worry the girls too much.  Amélie is too young to understand and Éowyn will have her imaginary parents and imaginary brother to look after her on Christmas day.  Yes, Éowyn’s entourage of quasi-corporeal companions is still growing.  As mentioned above she now has imaginary parents and when they are in the room Lucinda and I become Auntie and Uncle.  As you can probably guess her imagination is well developed and her play is quite imaginative and quite regularly makes games up and even songs.  She loves to hear stories and will ask you to tell her stories about when you were a child in addition to stories from books.  Obviously she is a child of the 2010’s (whatever you call this decade) and so enjoys DVD’s and television programmes too and they all help to fire her imagination.

You may recall that in February I took Éowyn to the cinema for the first time to see the Muppets.  Like her father before her she instantly became a fan.  So not only do we own the film on DVD but also have the soundtrack on CD.  This CD is permanently in the CD player in the car and whenever Éowyn is in the car she requests the Muppets.  Not only does Éowyn now know all the words to all the songs, so does Lucinda, and I quite often find myself whistling ‘Life’s a Happy Song’ or bursting into ‘Me Party’ at inopportune moments.  Now the fourth member of the family is hooked.  ‘Daddy, Muppets please,‘ is the first thing that Amélie will say as you put her into the car.  Although I love the Muppets and think that the soundtrack is excellent I think I have to try and find another soundtrack or album that they enjoy as much so that I can have some variety on my CD player in my car!

Julia Donaldson is rightly the Children’s Laureate and the girls enjoy many of her books, indeed Lucinda and I enjoy reading her books too. For those non-parents (and especially non-UK non-parents) her most famous book is probably The Gruffalo (a book I could probably recite by heart) which has made a successful leap to video with a 30 minute animated film.  Another of her books has taken a leap into another medium: Room on the Broom , another of our favourites had been turned into a stage show.  It is the story of a witch that allows a dog, a frog and a parrot join her and her cat on her broom.  Doesn’t sound too interesting?  Well there is a twist in the tale and you will have to buy the book to find out what happens.

We thought that Amélie was probably a little too young so we just bought tickets for Lucinda, me and Éowyn for the Sunday show at the Rose Theatre in Kingston-Upon-Thames with the other families of our NCT group.  Unfortunately work is extremely busy for me at the moment and it is difficult for me to take weekends off so disappointingly I was unable to go.  Rather than see the ticket go to waste we asked Éowyn who she would like to accompany her and mommy to the theatre.  Her cousin Megan was the lucky recipient of the spare ticket.  Éowyn was extremely excited to be going to the theatre (although I think she thought it was going to be the cinema).  The show was excellent and Lucinda, Éowyn and even Megan thoroughly enjoyed it which made me even more disappointed to have missed it.  The other members of our NCT group also enjoyed it and all of the children were well behaved throughout the show, which is nice to think that there are alternative ways to entertain our youngsters that does not rely on 21st century technology.

So since Lucinda is at work and it is time for some Daddy time I will leave you with a small selection of photos while I pretend to be a monster.

Peace and Love


In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Remember, remember the Fifth of November, gun powder, treason and plot.  I know of no reason why the gunpowder treason, should ever be forgot.

Up until this year I have always enjoyed Bonfire night (latent pyromania?), not for the history nor the idea encapsulated in the actions of Guido Fawkes and the other co-conspirators to blow up the House of Lords on the state opening of Parliament (caught by Lord Thomas Knyvet of Stanwell, coincidentally) but the fact that you get to have a big fire, fireworks and eat a variety of wholesome winter grub.  Obviously the lighting of bonfires to mark the start of Winter, giving thanks for the previous year and praying for the coming year is an ancient custom, as with many things hijacked for propaganda along the corridors of history and is just now synonymous with poor old Guy .  However I may have to revise my liking of the 5th November after this year.

This 5th November this year was a double celebration as it was also the Feast of Diwali (the Festival of Lights), the most important festival in the Hindu calendar.  Diwali commemorates the return of Lord Rama and his vanquishing of the demon-king Ravana.  His nation marked the return of their king by illuminating the kingdom with oil lamps.  Again this marked the end of the harvest season and prayers for a good harvest for the coming year.

Both of these festivals now incorporate the use of fireworks which although not an integral part of the either of the original festivals definitely compliment their spirits.  Plus they are just great.  Well, from a personal point of view, they are.  However, when you are a two year old girl asleep in your bed loud unknown noises can be quite unsettling.  So it was for poor Éowyn who woke up, disturbed by the bangs of the fireworks.  Her little heart was beating nineteen to the dozen, and she was extremely upset.  Eventually I managed to calm her back to sleep but it took over an hour and I had to stay with her until she fell back to sleep.

This repeated itself the next night, but this is where being a parent puts you in a quandary.  Obviously, Éowyn was upset and so it is important to go into her and reassure her.  But then the cuddling to sleep, or even just sitting in the room until she drops off could quickly develop from loving reassurance to a bad habit.  So, the third night she woke up (and this time there were no fireworks) I had to resort to bad cop.  A quick cuddle and a kiss, then I made her lie down and left then room.  She cried for five minutes or so, but then succumbed to the arms of Morpheus.  A quick sneak back in and tuck her in and the reliance on a parent to be in the room to fall asleep has thankfully gone away.

I also explained everything to her the next morning and she seemed to understand remarkably well, including repeating the sequence of events back to us.  ‘Éowyn go to sleep, fireworks noisy, bang, bang, bang! Éowyn wake up, cry.  Daddy kiss and cuddle.  Éowyn go back to sleep.’ Myself and Lucinda were astounded when she repeated it back to us.

Tuesday was Lucinda’s mum’s 70th birthday and so Sunday she hosted a party for friends and family.  It was a big turnout and Éowyn got to play with her cousins (which she always enjoys) and Amélie got to meet the majority of the remainder of Lucinda’s family that she hasn’t met.  There are still a few that haven’t been introduced, but all in good time.  There was the obligatory buffet and (being so close to Bonfire night) a fire and fireworks.  Éowyn was not fazed by the fireworks (because she could see what was causing the bangs).  However she was enthralled by the fire, latent pyromania inherited from her father, something we will definitely have to watch!

Amélie is still unsettled and not sleeping for any length of time, however Tuesday saw a visit from the Health Visitor who has come up with a novel explanation.  She seems to think that Amélie’s tongue is a little on the short side.  Nothing to be worried about per se, but is probably preventing her from latching on correctly and hence she is probably not getting enough of the hind-milk and at the same time giving her wind.   It also explains why Amélie has not put as much weight on as one would expect.  She currently tips the scales at  4.68kgs (10lb 4.5oz) which means she has dropped from the 75th centile line that she had been hugging for the last 6 weeks.  Again, nothing to worry about but another good reason to switch to bottles (with breast milk or formula) and see how things develop.

The first night we gave her formula in the bottle and she slept for 7 hours.  It is too early to say anything and we are not counting our chickens but she could be on to something.  At least we know how much she is drinking and I can take on some of the feeds, freeing Lucinda from the three hourly ritual.  You will have to stay tuned to see if this is a step to a brave new world.  I am off work for a week now and so we will have some time together to attempt to force this paradigm shift.

I will now take my leave and let you look at the new crop of photos.

Peace and love